University of Arizona president Robert Robbins gave a vote of confidence to Wildcats coach Sean Miller.
“Sean’s our coach and we look forward to continuing to participate and cooperate in all the investigations that are going on,” Robbins told Tucson TV station KGUN on Wednesday. “But Sean’s our coach.”
Arizona confirmed last week that the NCAA is investigating the men’s basketball program, but Robbins declined to address possible sanctions.
“I have no idea,” he told KGUN. “That’s up to the NCAA. We’ll just cooperate with them and see what they have to say at the end.”
Miller, the Wildcats’ coach since 2009, was not charged in a long-running federal corruption probe that produced two more convictions in New York City on Wednesday.
Christian Dawkins, an aspiring sports agent/business manager, was convicted of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery. Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, was found guilty of bribery conspiracy.
The verdict came after a two-week federal trial that focused on alleged payoffs to prominent players and coaches in order to steer prospects to certain financial advisers and handlers.
In March, Dawkins and Code were sentenced to six months in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in an October trial. Former Adidas executive James Gatto received a nine-month sentence in that trial.
Dawkins and Code had been accused of facilitating bribes to multiple assistant coaches, including four — Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson, Auburn’s Chuck Person, Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans and Southern California’s Tony Bland — who have pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy without a trial and are scheduled for sentencing later this month.
Arizona has been connected to the recruiting scandal in college hoops since the beginning, when Richardson was arrested in September 2017 as a result of a federal investigation.
Richardson entered a guilty plea in January to charges he accepted $20,000 in bribes to influence certain Arizona players to hire Dawkins and other financial advisers once they entered the NBA.
At the trial in New York, federal prosecutors played a recording in a courtroom that suggested Miller paid former player Deandre Ayton $10,000 a month while he was in the Wildcats’ program.
In February 2018, when allegations surfaced that Miller was involved with paying Ayton, he vehemently denied them.
“Let me be very, very clear: I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona,” Miller said. “In fact, I had never even met or spoke to Christian Dawkins until after Deandre publicly announced that he was coming to our school. Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false and defamatory.”
After court Wednesday, Dawkins told the Arizona Daily Star he “never had conversations” with the 50-year-old Miller about delivering Ayton to Arizona.